To mark their return, Coldplay recently decided to release their new single Violet Hill as a free download. And apparently Violet Hill has now been downloaded by two million people eager to hear Coldplay’s Spanish-influenced, Brian Eno-helmed new direction.
Sadly there aren’t any figures for how many people only listened to Violet Hill once, rolled their eyes because it’s exactly the same as every other Coldplay song ever written and instantly deleted it from their iTunes library. We’re guessing it’s just a shade off two million.
The fastest way to get people excited by anything is to offer them something for free. People love free stuff. We’ve literally seen people arguing over a bag of horseshit in the past because it was free. And if they love horseshit they’ll go crazy for new music by Coldplay.
Now don’t get the wrong idea. We’re not comparing Coldplay to horseshit. It’s an unfair comparison to make because, well, everyone loves horseshit, don’t they? Anyway, we’re straying dangerously away from the point here, and that’s that last week Coldplay released their new single as a free download. And also that horseshit is better than Coldplay.
Violet Hill was the first taster from Coldplay’s new album Viva La Vida, and last Tuesday the band let the world download it for free. It was a smart move – a quick and easy way to remind people of their return, help diffuse the pressure of following up an album that was number one around the world and allow them to exorbitantly overcharge fans for concert tickets in future because it gave them that one song for free once, remember?
And, according to Coldplay, Violet Hill has been downloaded two million times since last Tuesday, which is apparently enough to outsell the entire top 40 four times over. Just imagine how many people would have downloaded it if it was actually good. The Telegraph reports:
In the first 12 hours, it was downloaded by 300,000 people, a figure which doubled overnight as other countries logged on to coldplay.com… Gennaro Castaldo, of HMV, said: “Coldplay will not have made a huge loss by giving away their first single because they are very much a group that connects with their fans via their album. The industry will be looking very carefully at how the album sells following their decision to allow their fans to downlaod the first single for free.”
Plus, don’t forget that giving away your first single for free means that you won’t look a clown when you’re inevitably beaten to number one by The Crazy Frog again.
Anyway, two million downloads in a week is a huge amount, but don’t be fooled by this whole ‘enough to outsell the top 40’ nonsense, because that’d only really work if the download was limited to people who live in the UK. The two million figure is worldwide, and that’s still good – but it means Violet Hill is not quite as popular as My Humps. And people paid for that. And it was My Humps.
Also, because it was free, you can’t expect everyone who downloaded Violet Hill to go and buy the new Coldplay album. In fact, if you start with two million and minus the number of people who just downloaded Violet Hill because it was free, then minus the number of critics who downloaded it out of professional obligation, then minus the people who downloaded it because they were curious to see if Coldplay had actually managed to make a good record and instantly deleted it because they obviously hadn’t, and what are you left with?
Chris Martin‘s Mum. Good work, Mrs Martin! Keep making us proud!